I have a lot of grand ideas or at least I like to think I do.
I’m usually good with the follow through too except of course if you count my Minimalist Mondays series. I may have announced I was starting said series with the complete and utter intention to complete this blog post each and every Monday.
What I thought would happen:
I would post each and every Monday.
What actually happened:
I didn’t post at all.
I don’t think anyone was really reading it anyway, but maybe you did and you wondered what happened to me. I want to let you know I did not in fact fall off the face of the planet, and I did not win the lottery or something equally awesome. I wish I did have something to report that would explain my leave of absence. Something to explain why I haven’t followed through, but I don’t.
Life just got in the way, in a big way.
This last year has been one of the busiest I think we’ve had as a family. I really felt like this year we got the full family experience. We were both working, the kids were both in school, in after-school activities 4 days a week with one day where their activities actually overlapped with one another.
Have I said how thankful I am that it’s summer?
So now that that’s out of the way I wanted to talk about what I’ve actually been doing in terms of working on minimalism.
I’ve been researching a lot. The whole idea really intrigues me. The less stuff we have the better life we can have. I originally posted about how I was feeling a lot of anxiety and stress about the “stuff” we tend to accumulate in our lives in this post. After years of feeling the stress I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about how to go about starting to live a minimalist life.
What I’ve learned so far:
There are many different definitions of what it means to be a minimalist
There are people who believe that are what I think of as “true” minimalists. They have bare surroundings, white walls and modern furniture. There are those that believe living minimally means getting rid of stuff you don’t use often (i.e. a pumpkin carver) only to buy it again next year. I’ve also found people who are in the minimalist camp where you live with only what you absolutely need to survive.
This newfound revolution was music to my ears. I am by nature an over-thinker, and I will overthink things to death. Finding so many different types of people who define minimalism in their own way has really led me to be open-minded about the whole process. I feel knowing this makes it easier for me to join the ranks of minimalism.
I mean after all this whole thing started for my sanity.
If you should know anything about me it’s that I firmly and 100% believe to each their own. I believe everyone has their own way of doing things and no one person is 100% right. There is so much in this world and everyone is just doing the best they can with what they have. Finding out that everyone has different views on minimalism is like a breath of fresh air. It makes it that much more interesting and unpredictable.
It doesn’t mean you have to overhaul your entire life in one day
I learned that I didn’t have to throw absolutely everything into the dumpster and call it a day, but I honestly think I’d feel better. Oh the look of horror on the girls faces makes me laugh just thinking about it. One day they’ll think my sense of humor is funny.
Although I usually want to rid the house of everything all at once I’ve learned that to start the process you don’t have to overturn your entire house and world in one day. First off, that isn’t realistic. Second, it would probably result in a large amount of fatigue that would end with me being in bed for at least a week.
I’ve learned that becoming a minimalism doesn’t mean that
It’s not just what you get rid of, it’s what you DON’T bring back in
It may seem obvious, but ridding yourself of your “stuff” is only half the battle. The other half is making sure more of that stuff doesn’t find it’s way back into your humble abode.
I know it may seem like a duh moment, at least that’s what I was thinking when my venture into minimalism started, but it’s a lot harder than you would think.
I bet you’re wondering how can that be?
Step 1: Get rid of things
Step 2: Don’t bring anymore things
Those two steps are what I thought would unfold initially, but I apparently forgot to factor in things like Christmas presents, birthdays, end of the year goodies, kids in your class goodies, goodies because it’s Wednesday, and more dollar store items than I realized were produced. There is a lot of of ways more stuff finds it’s way into your house. It involves becoming constantly vigilant about what comes in and stays in your home. I’ll be digging deeper into this in the Minimalist Monday series.
It’s hard, if you overthink it
One of the first comments I got in regards to my last post about minimalism was:
It’s easier said than done
I do think this rings true before you really research and learn about minimalism. It is definitely “easier said than done” if you overthink it. If your things have such a grip on you that you can’t let go.
One of the reasons why people think it’s hard is because we live in a society where we’re told that our “stuff” matters. It matters such a great deal that people will willingly and knowingly go into debt for things they don’t need just to have the “stuff” they think they want. I can say this with certainty because I used to be one of them.
I used to feel great about all the things I owned until it started to dawn on me that those things owned me. They owned me because as I was obtaining more and more “things” I was having to continue to work harder to get money to pay for those things. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t have an end until we realize we might not “need” everything we “want”.
When my things owned me it made the idea of letting go hard.
Do what is right for you and your lifestyle
Minimalism for me isn’t an all-or-nothing thing.
At this stage in my life it can’t be. There are many an evening that is spent looking at yurts and smaller living. There are times where I envision living off the grid and planting a garden, only in this daydream I don’t actually kill all our vegetables.
In my life right now doing my best and dipping my toes in the minimalism pool is all I can hope for and that is 100% okay with me.
Do I want to eventually live the best minimal life I can?
But I figure until that happens I can do what I can do now and worry about the rest later. I’m still moving forward and changing and becoming better and that’s really all I want.
Check back in next week where I’ll talk about book that captures a down to earth approach to starting the minimalist life.
What are your thoughts on minimalism? What interests you about it? What confuses you?